April 19, 2016


I've been thinking a lot about happiness lately. I recently read this article that I really enjoyed. It's awfully easy to be happy when things are going well but I think when you are feeling a bit beat up by life or when you are feeling stressed and have a hard time looking past whatever is challenging you, then it takes more effort to seek out the happiness. But it's always worth the effort.

I think we sometimes have a tendency to think life starts after. After I lose 15 pounds, after that project is finished, after I find the perfect partner, or job or home or... But what if we focused on what is and on being happy today, just as things are? What if small changes in our day to day life could add up to big changes in our mood and quality of life? Sometimes for me it's as easy as taking some time to focus on doing small things that make me happy like baking, crafting, nesting, yoga or gardening. Sometimes it's as simple as taking a break from the sameness of every day life and going on a little adventure.

I know personally that I am at my happiest when I am:
-Being grateful
-Thinking positive thoughts about myself and others
-Making time to do the things I enjoy
-Not procrastinating
-Living in a healthy balanced way
-Being Mindful

The first one really is the most important for me. If I am not focused on being thankful for all that I have, but am instead focused on whatever I don't have (and this can be material possessions but can really be anything), it is impossible to see the beauty in my right now. And I truly believe that no matter what, there is beauty to be seen in every moment. It is so much about how we train ourselves to think. It is easy to fall into a pattern with your thoughts and you can either choose to fall into a positive pattern or a negative one. My mom was a very negative person. I don't think she was always like that but it was so pronounced in her later years that it was honestly hard to be around her. The positive is that it gave me an awareness of such things that I might not have had otherwise, so that I could choose to not live like that.

So today I am taking a look around me and seeing how very much there is to be thankful for. The birds are singing, the flowers are blooming, there are freshly baked cookies, my book is waiting to be finished, I'm starting to feel better from the virus I caught last week, dinner on the front porch tonight with my big girl, a walk with the dog and scheduling a little beach getaway for this summer. So many things to fill me with gratitude.


  1. Beautiful post, Jen and I totally agree! When I start to get in one of my moods of negativity or ungratefulness ("my house needs this and that; my kitchen is so outdated; my husband still hasn't done ____, just for some examples), I quickly try to come to my senses and realize that my house is beautiful and perfect for US and that my husband works a very long, demanding shift and many hours and that I am so, so blessed and lucky to have him. Like you, I feel best when I am balanced with healthy eating, yoga, walks, little getaways, a good book, and mindfulness, to name a few. I've had some tough times with my mom especially this past year too, and I am really working on that...realizing that it's part of her aging and my own attitude and over-sensitivity. And it's also a learning experience - like you said, it makes me realize that's not how I want to be, so I consciously choose to live and behave otherwise. Hope you are feeling better and that you have a beautiful week.

  2. Love this post and reminder! My girl and I recently started a 21-day challenge to be positive, enthusiastic and not complain or be negative. So, the challenge goes to the end of April and I hope we will get in that mindset and continue on and on indefinitely. We're not perfect and have at times already messed up, but we are making a real effort. When she was trying out for freshman cheerleader, we both agreed that even if she didn't make it, she had already met some really nice girls who will be at her high school, so we could see the silver lining there. Have a wonderful week! :)

  3. What a wonderful post Jen. You are so right! I have been trying to be more mindful of being positive. Love your book stand!

  4. A wonderful reminder for all of us! Life throws so much at all of us but our reaction (and happy factor) are mostly in our control...

  5. Love this Jen! It's so true. I for one try to look for the positives every day. It's so much easier to get through each day with a smile on your face. : )

  6. A very timely post for me. I have made great strides in the past few years on living a more joyful life, but have been in a bit of a funk the past few months. Every morning I remind myself that I need to appreciate the small joys and be grateful for what I have. Kind of faking it until I feel it.

  7. I love this post! I, too, try to always find something to be grateful for, even when things are difficult. Sometimes it really hits home, when I read about folks who are struggling so much...we are so fortunate and truly blessed. Hugs to you, Jen!

  8. You have a wonderful way of getting your ideas across and I so enjoy your posts. I have to check out your link. I agree wthat your first thought on being grateful trumps everything. I don't want a lot of material things at all, I think relationships are the most important gifts in life. Family and friends and the simple ways we interact with strangers. I often wish I could spend more times with my kids, that my girls confided in me more, that I was more comfortable in social situations. These are issues and wants we can change if we really focus and find the tools to be at peace within ourselves and then reach out without emotions ruling us.

    Such food for thought, Jen.

    Thank you!

  9. As always, spot on! And your sentence about your Mother being a negative person later in life is something I'm dealing with right now. My mom was never like that either, and I don't consider her "old" (70) but she is certainly more negative than positive. I feel like I'm constantly playing "Cheerleader" trying to help her see the positive but even more importantly is what you said saying it has made you realize that it's not how YOU want to be. So very true. I list my gratitudes in a journal at least weekly. It can be as simple as "the sun is shining" and can be as blissful as "the smell of fresh cut grass in the spring". It helps! Here's to being grateful and many thanks to you for your post! :-)

  10. Such a great post and your photos are lovely. I am also at my happiest in the scenarios you mentioned you are happy. :)

  11. It is so hard when one of the most important people in our lives has an altitude that is not desirable. I found this with my Mom too. And I also found that in order to keep myself and my family sane, I had to limit how much time I spent with her. That magic number became once a month. Truly. I decided to choose happiness and peace over blood. My family has thanked me over and over. May you have happiness too! Hugs, Kit

  12. Great post!

    I had to laugh about the procrastination one. Today I made a heart shaped driftwood wreath and posted it on Instagram. I gathered the driftwood and drilled the holes for the wreath over a year ago!

  13. simplify to live fully.
    thanks for the link to that post..
    skimmed it once and will go back to
    savor the wisdom...........now. :)

  14. your posts always make me think & move forward in a positive way, jen!

    happiness really is a choice. it is so easy to get bogged down in the negatives in life and dwell on them. i find myself doing this way too often. but i do try to look at the not fun stuff & figure out a practical way to deal with it. just getting a plan makes me feel better. also, (and this sounds so polly anna) just trying to smile all day, even when feeling awful somehow makes the world seem brighter.

    thanks, jen for sharing the great parts of your life as well as your problems & anxieties.

  15. Thank you for the link to the article, it made me really think. I follow so much of your advice and yet this article brought even more to me to simplify my life. Have felt very overwhelmed lately due to circumstances I have no control over, this article will help me to get better control over what "I" can control! Bless your heart, love Lori


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